Real Estate Executive Commits to Giving Back

REAL ESTATE EXECUTIVE TAMI HALTON PARDEE IS COMMITTED TO GIVING BACK, EMPOWERING THOSE WHO HAVE NO ROOF AT ALL.

Founder and CEO of Halton Pardee + Partners, Tami Halton Pardee is one of the nation’s premier real estate entrepreneurs, leading her Los Angeles-based firm to sell more than $3.8 billion worth of properties since its inception in 2004. Halton Pardee is also a prominent philanthropist who created the Life Change Warriors foundation in 2017 after years of promoting a culture of giving at her company.

In 2001 Halton Pardee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a devastating blow to a vibrant young woman just entering her thirties, but she drew inspiration and energy from this adversity. “That call from my doctor taught me I had to start planning my life, not just letting it happen,” recounts Halton Pardee, who adds, “I needed to start living my best life.”

Photo courtesy of Halton Pardee + Partners.

Halton Pardee founded Life Change Warriors to help people move beyond their own traumas, whatever those may be, and as a real estate professional and mother of four she focused her attention on homeless women and at-risk kids. The real estate executive had always been committed to returning some of her good fortune to the community, and Halton Pardee + Partners maintains a policy of donating a portion of all commissions to local charities, totaling more than $1.3 million over 14 years. But with her newfound sense of purpose, Halton Pardee yearned to be more hands-on in her giving, and those charitable proceeds are now directed primarily to Life Change Warriors.

The foundation translates Halton Pardee’s long-held philosophy of creating one’s best life through human connections, but presents it through a more structured methodology. Life Change Warriors offers six weeks of classes — she teaches them herself along with two life coaches — for people unable to get beyond their respective traumas, often relegated to living on the streets.

“Everybody lives in the past and believes that it dictates their future, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” insists the entrepreneur, who personally overcame her own traumas. “I want them to live their best lives,” reports Halton Pardee, who hosts students at her home for graduation dinners. The graduates receive a monetary gift to use as a deposit for an apartment or to pursue a degree or career goal, finally breaking the cycle of homelessness with a newfound sense of empowerment.

One of Life Change Warriors’ many success stories was a single, homeless mother named Sylvia, who after graduation from her six-week class went on to receive her high school equivalency certificate and was placed by the foundation in a job with a nonprofit affordable housing developer, where she has since been promoted to property manager.

“After selling a $10 million home, how can any agent not think of giving a portion of that commission to people who don’t even have a roof over their heads?” asks Halton Pardee, who notes the real estate industry is ideally suited to this kind of charity. “When you believe in someone, it can really change their life,” she says, noting that until many of her students begin classes, they have never before had anybody truly believe in them. “They need to know they’re worthy and that there’s a way out of homelessness, that they can escape whatever happened in their past,” explains the inspiring philanthropist.

Usually, it’s possible to sum up the outlook with a pithy phrase, but this year the luxury landscape is nuanced. Some markets sizzle; others simmer. Dynamic outside forces are at play and will potentially exert even more influence in 2019. In the background, the words recession and bubble are whispered, but most experts don’t see either in the cards, particularly for residential real estate in 2019.

“In most markets, I think it’s a case of ‘from great to good,’” says Stephanie Anton, president of Luxury Portfolio International.

“We’ve left a crazy market, and we’re moving into a more normal market,” shares John Brian Losh, chairman of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. “We are beginning to see a more normalized market where supply is more equal to demand. Even in the luxury market, there are fewer bidding situations.”

According to Redfin, the number of competitive offers fell from 45 percent to 32 percent in 2018. Still, some ZIP codes in busy markets such as Boston, Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area remain hotbeds of competition, with the number of multi-bid scenarios increasing in the third quarter.

© istockphoto.com/JZHUK

Concerns about potential bubbles continue to percolate, but economists and other experts caution that fundamentals are strong and for real estate the next downturn will be different. “The recent tax reform and increased government spending have been a shot in the arm of the U.S. economy,” Tim Wang, head of investment research at Clarion Partners, explained to journalists at the Urban Land Institute’s fall conference. Wang and other experts expect the current expansion of the economy to continue through 2019, tapering to 2.5 percent next year.  

“The housing market is following the trend in the overall economy, which needs to be noted because housing led the last downturn,” comments Marci Rossell, chief economist for Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, citing politics and global uncertainty as factors affecting real estate. This time, she says, “the casualties will be a little bit different, and because of that I don’t anticipate a meltdown.”

A cooling period is how Craig Hogan, vice president of luxury at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, characterizes the luxury climate, particularly in the second half of 2018. It’s a change Coldwell Banker has anticipated. “For any of us to think it was always going to be incredible is a little naive. The market is always going to fluctuate.” Hogan says it’s important not to interpret cooling as a market decline. “Cooling is a normal fluctuation, while a decline happens when the value of homes begins dipping.”

“There hasn’t been any great price suppression. Houses are staying on the market a little longer, but demand is still healthy,” says Losh.

“I think we’re still going to have a very strong year overall. I do believe we’re seeing price adjustments, and that’s okay. I think the key is watching how long properties are staying on the market and watching the size of the price adjustments,” observes Lesli Akers, president of Keller Williams Luxury International.

The average sales price for Sotheby’s transactions is up year over year. “From a luxury point of view, many of our companies are having a record year,” says Philip White, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty. “Revenues are up, and in some cases pretty significantly,” he shares, noting that this number also reflects significant recruiting and/or acquisitions by some companies.

Recent stats show prices for upscale properties still increasing, but at a slower pace than past years. The number of sales in many places has dipped, but that differs by location, and in more than a few instances sales still exceed 2017.

Data from the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM) shows median prices for single family luxury homes climbing 8.5 percent in November over October, while the number of sales fell 11.7 percent. For attached luxury properties, sales rose 2.6 percent with a 2.3 percent hike in prices.  

Putting the current market for real estate overall into perspective, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said, “2017 was the best year for home sales in 10 years, and 2018 is only down 1.5 percent year to date. Statistically, it is a mild twinge in the data and a very mild adjustment compared to the long-term growth we’ve been experiencing over the past few years.” Yun and other housing economists are quick to point out that new construction still hasn’t caught up with demand and foreclosure levels are at historic lows, factors which make the current climate different than the run up to the recession. NAR’s forecast calls for an overall price increase of about 3 percent in 2019 while the number of sales flattens or edges up very slightly.

Tale of Two Markets

Luxury’s story is a little different. “This year the luxury market has been a tale of two markets, for sure. Some areas are struggling, but most have been stronger than many realize, particularly in the first half of the year. As median prices have been slowing (and getting lots of media attention), the top 5 percent of many major metro markets nationally have been growing, with sales over $1 million up over 5 percent year over year and prices breaking records, in some cases by double digits. In the majority of markets, inventory has been selling faster. This is happening simply because of the health of the affluent,” observes Anton.

What sets this year’s outlook apart is that some places are having a strong, dynamic market, while others are seeing a softening, often only in specific price brackets. “The slowdown that started on the East Coast is having some effect on the West Coast. But it’s not a typical slowdown,” says Mike Leipart, managing partner of new development at The Agency. “Good product that has relative value is continuing to transact.”

The top three sales nationally in the third quarter, each over $30 million, occurred in Laguna, and seven out of the top 10 were in Southern California.

Rather than a general market malaise, Leipart characterizes the slowdown as more of a spec home problem. “It’s just too much has been built too fast, and not all of it is very good. The people who thought they could build a house for $15 million and sell it for $30 million are struggling.”

The higher price points in L.A. may see an even stronger downturn in the near future, suggests Bob Hurtwitz, owner of Hurwitz James Company, who typically works in the very high end. “There is a lot of inventory on the higher end, and luxury home buyers are usually in a position to wait and see. The drops in price are a lot more dramatic on property at $15 million and above, and buyers are aware of the benefit in waiting to see how it plays out. At the ultra-high end of $100 million or more, you are going to see and already are seeing huge reductions in price.” What’s hot in L.A.? Luxury penthouses in full 24-hour security buildings in prime areas, according to Hurwitz. “High-end penthouses will continue to be in-demand from foreign buyers purchasing as a part time home or for housing for their children.” Other price brackets, notably the $1.5-million to $3.5-million range, are busy, and, Hurwitz says, his agents are doing a lot of deals.

Perceptions of prices in Manhattan can be skewed, since recent closings are often for new construction for which contracts (and prices) were written a couple of years prior. Even though stats show sales decreasing, Ellie Johnson, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties, says, “There is still a healthy but steady group of buyers that are still out there in the high-end luxury landscape.” Additionally, New York is particularly keyed to Wall Street, and volatility in the stock market often means more money gets transferred into brick and mortar. “We’ve seen an uptick that we didn’t have at the beginning of the fall season,” Johnson observes. Despite a less than stellar real estate market at year end, New York remains a global gateway and the top city for global wealth.

Manhattan

© istockphoto.com/CreativeImages1900

Los Angeles

© istockphoto.com/SeanPavonePhoto

St. Petersburg

© istockphoto.com/SeanPavonePhoto

In other locations, particularly those with lower prices for upscale properties compared to California, Florida or New York, reports show strong interest and price growth. An acre in one of Atlanta’s prime addresses in Buckhead can demand as much as $1 million. It’s just one indication that luxury here continues to reach new price levels with considerable demand coming from outside the region, including buyers from California and Florida. Some relocate simply because they want a home in the city; others follow corporate moves. The city has also become a favorite for the film industry, which has become a $4 million industry. “It’s changing everything about this city,” says Debra Johnston with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties. Luxury really doesn’t begin until the $5 million threshold, says Johnston, but prices compared to Florida and California are reasonable.

At one time, it was thought it might take more than 20 years for Florida real estate to recoup from the recession. In October, the state tracked 82 consecutive months of price hikes for both single-family and condo-townhouse properties, with many cities showing double-digit increases in the number of sales. “The overall market in Florida, particularly higher-end areas such as Sarasota, Naples and Palm Beach, is definitely strong and stable. Maybe not as robust as say 2013 and 2014, but we haven’t had any major slide — except the economists talking about the market slowing down,” says Pam Charron with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty in Sarasota.

“The St. Petersburg market seems to be performing differently than other Florida markets and other national trends,” observes Tami Simms with Coastal Properties Group, noting November sales skyrocketed over the prior year. “We have developed into a year-round market with luxury downtown condominiums in high steady demand.” Another sign of consumer confidence is lack of defaults on pre-construction sales. “When we experienced the crash, those buildings that had been sold out prior to completion experienced a significant number of defaults. We see none of that in this instance.”

Florida is one of several states including Texas and Nevada benefiting from changes in tax law. Tax changes not only force some to reevaluate where they live, but they also impact the margins of price brackets. “While it doesn’t mean people wholesale leave New York or San Francisco, marginal changes tickle up and trickle down to the next closest price level,” and it will take several years for that to be felt, says Rossell.

The New Market

“So many trends have taken place they are no longer trends, they are the new market,” observes Hogan, using new construction as one example. “It doesn’t matter where you go or who you talk to, new construction is part of the conversation.”

Global demographics will have a long-term impact. “What luxury is adjusting to is a different demographic worldwide. Those aging baby boomers are kind of done with big homes and the following demographic is 50-percent smaller,” Rossell says.

Changing demographics affect location and property type. “I think we’ll see increased demand for primary residences in traditional second home and resort markets. We are seeing this trend in select markets, as individuals who have the freedom to work remotely are opting to live in places where they feel their quality of life will be the best,” observes Anthony Hitt, president and CEO, Engel & Völkers Americas.

Summer 2019 will mark the most prolonged economic recovery since World War II, but wild cards including interest rates, a trade war and further instability could easily derail this expectation. However, there is a silver lining to the current market. Increasing inventories will bring some buyers back to the market and create more demand. “I think it’s going to a be a great opportunity. People will buy things that they haven’t considered, and they’re going to buy more of them. I think that’s been a big challenge. We’ve not had the inventory, and a lot of buyers kind of just fell out of the market because they didn’t feel like there really was one,” explains Akers.

ILHM President Diane Hartley believes 2019 will be a year of opportunity for both buyers and sellers provided they remain agile, innovative and adaptable to their local market influence.

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of Unique Homes Magazine. 

Emerging from the exclusive realm of off-market listings, the recently listed The Mountain site is turning the heads of buyers, sellers and Realtors with its record-setting list price of $1 billion. Minutes from the Beverly Hills Hotel and Rodeo Drive, this 157-acre hilltop location has been transformed into the world’s most exclusive and private residential real estate compound.

The property, currently owned by Secured Capital Partners, was consolidated from 17 multiple parcels into “one large real estate diamond,” according to Ronald Richards, legal counsel and spokesperson for Secured Capital Partners. Aaron Kirman, president of Pacific Union International, Estates Division and the listing agent for The Mountain, affirms that no other property with these possibilities exists any place close to Beverly Hills. “This is the only opportunity to own your own mountain that looks down at all of Los Angeles. Our likely buyer for this property is an individual who wants to build his or her own compound,” says Kirman.

 

The compound is the size of a small city, with six parcels that are made ready to build and have unobstructed views that range from downtown Los Angeles to Catalina Island and Santa Monica. With the amount of space to fit the entirety of Disneyland, and 57 acres to spare, the buyer will be able to build three buildings up to 500,000 square feet and up to 53 feet high, with the nearest neighbor a half-mile away.

In order to perpetuate exclusivity, invaluable amounts of time and effort have been spent to make this one of the most private properties in the country. More than 500 trees and 5,000 smaller plants have been transplanted to the property, along with a massive 16-foot-tall custom security gate.

 

Other renovations made to the property were outfitted as preparations for development, but still leave the land open to suggestion. Stone aggregate roads lead to a hand-selected cobblestone drive, as well as a sculpture court accented by a full-length water feature. An in-depth landscape lighting design exists throughout the property, as well as a storm drain system, a booster system for fire hydrants and a backup generator.

 

“To be able to claim ownership of the largest property at the highest point in all Los Angeles, will make the buyer the most prestigious billionaire overnight,” says Richards.

This originally appeared in Unique Homes Fall 2018

 

Click here to view the digital edition.

A glimpse at some of the finest Presidential Suites in the world reveals that some of the amenities in just one of them include: Cantilevered glass balconies, a breathtaking library with a 26-foot cathedral ceiling, a Bösendorfer baby grand piano, lacquered walls with inlaid mother-of-pearl detailing, world-class art and a master bath clad in rare Chinese onyx.

In most hotels, the “Presidential Suite” will never host a U.S. president, but its very presence suggests a property possesses the requisite luxury for the most exclusive clientele. It is an opportunity for interior designers and staff to pull out all the stops to create the ultimate accommodations for heads of state, A-List celebrities or billionaire entrepreneurs.

 

Since James Monroe held the office, U.S. presidents have gravitated to The Greenbrier, the stately West Virginia resort 250 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., now a short flight aboard Air Force One. Surrounded by 11,000 rolling, wooded acres, the retreat has the serenity of Camp David but with world-class golf and cuisine. After a visit from President Eisenhower in 1956, a secret Cold War bunker was constructed at The Greenbrier for the relocation of Congress in the event of a nuclear attack.

Photos courtesy of The Greenbriar

The Presidential Suite is located in a wing called The Windsor Club at The Greenbrier, and currently commands $25,000 per night. A sweeping staircase leads from the entertainment areas on the ground floor to seven bedrooms (all with en suite bathrooms) above. An additional 18 bedrooms for guests or staff are available upon request. Originally decorated by legendary interior designer Dorothy Draper, the Presidential Suite still features her signature style of American Baroque furniture and vibrant hand-painted wallpaper.

 

According to Dr. Robert S. Conte, the resort’s official historian and author of The History of The Greenbrier—America’s Resort, the suite was created in 1947 when the property was converted back to a hotel after serving as a U.S. Army hospital during World War II. “It’s at the end of a long corridor, which provides a sense of privacy and has a dedicated concierge,” reports Conte.

 

Of the 27 presidents who have stayed at The Greenbrier, only Eisenhower actually slept in the Presidential Suite, as other suites offer more manageable spaces. But its occupants have included Indian Prime Minister Nehru, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The 5,500-squre-foot suite is ideal for corporate entertaining, and one family has made a tradition of booking it every Christmas for 25 years.

 

On the 51st floor of the I.M. Pei-designed Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown Manhattan are a pair of beautifully appointed 1,350-square-foot “Presidential Suites” with stunning views of the New York skyline and neighboring Central Park. But heads of state, royalty or big-name celebrities may prefer to ascend to the Ty Warner Penthouse, a 4,300-square-foot suite with 360-degree views and extraordinary appointments. The Four Seasons reports the showcase suite, a collaboration of Pei, hotel owner Ty Warner and iconoclastic architect/interior designer Peter Marino, is the product of a $50 million investment.

 

The Ty Warner Penthouse features the four highest cantilevered glass balconies in the world, perched over one of New York’s most prestigious and strategic addresses. A breathtaking library offers a 26-foot cathedral ceiling, floor-to-ceiling bronze bookcases from French sculptor Claude Lalanne and a Bösendorfer baby grand piano. Lacquered walls with inlaid mother-of-pearl detailing, world-class art and a master bath clad in rare Chinese onyx contribute to the architectural drama, while service perks include a 24-hour dedicated guest manager and Rolls Royce with driver at the ready. The nightly rate for this opulence is about $60,000, arguably a bit pricy for a public servant.

The Presidential Suite is located in a wing called The Windsor Club at The Greenbrier, and currently commands $25,000 per night. A sweeping staircase leads from the entertainment areas on the ground floor to seven bedrooms (all with en suite bathrooms) above. An additional 18 bedrooms for guests or staff are available upon request. Originally decorated by legendary interior designer Dorothy Draper, the Presidential Suite still features her signature style of American Baroque furniture and vibrant hand-painted wallpaper.

 

According to Dr. Robert S. Conte, the resort’s official historian and author of The History of The Greenbrier—America’s Resort, the suite was created in 1947 when the property was converted back to a hotel after serving as a U.S. Army hospital during World War II. “It’s at the end of a long corridor, which provides a sense of privacy and has a dedicated concierge,” reports Conte.

 

Of the 27 presidents who have stayed at The Greenbrier, only Eisenhower actually slept in the Presidential Suite, as other suites offer more manageable spaces. But its occupants have included Indian Prime Minister Nehru, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The 5,500-squre-foot suite is ideal for corporate entertaining, and one family has made a tradition of booking it every Christmas for 25 years.

Photos courtesy of Caesar’s Hotel and Bel Air Hotel

On the 51st floor of the I.M. Pei-designed Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown Manhattan are a pair of beautifully appointed 1,350-square-foot “Presidential Suites” with stunning views of the New York skyline and neighboring Central Park. But heads of state, royalty or big-name celebrities may prefer to ascend to the Ty Warner Penthouse, a 4,300-square-foot suite with 360-degree views and extraordinary appointments. The Four Seasons reports the showcase suite, a collaboration of Pei, hotel owner Ty Warner and iconoclastic architect/interior designer Peter Marino, is the product of a $50 million investment.

 

The Ty Warner Penthouse features the four highest cantilevered glass balconies in the world, perched over one of New York’s most prestigious and strategic addresses. A breathtaking library offers a 26-foot cathedral ceiling, floor-to-ceiling bronze bookcases from French sculptor Claude Lalanne and a Bösendorfer baby grand piano. Lacquered walls with inlaid mother-of-pearl detailing, world-class art and a master bath clad in rare Chinese onyx contribute to the architectural drama, while service perks include a 24-hour dedicated guest manager and Rolls Royce with driver at the ready. The nightly rate for this opulence is about $60,000, arguably a bit pricy for a public servant.

 

On the other coast, a favorite spot of the rich and famous is the Hotel Bel-Air, whose attraction is not only its prestige but its seclusion. Buffered by 12 acres of landscaped gardens with an idyllic swan pond, the hotel’s Presidential Suite is understatedly elegant, with arched floor-to-ceiling windows, chandeliers hanging from coffered ceilings and luxurious limestone floors more suggestive of a grand residence than a hotel. A stunning Bianco Ondulare marble-clad fireplace and grand piano occupy the living room, while gracious dining for 10 is accommodated in a room with silver-laced, hand-painted walls. Guests pass through French doors into a private courtyard with its own swimming pool, reflective of the signature serenity of the entire property.

 

The Bel-Air’s versatile 6,775-square-foot Presidential Suite, for which the nightly rate starts at $15,000, is accessed through a private entrance ensuring privacy and providing a more residential feel. “The suite is situated in a compound layout, so anyone traveling with security or an entourage can have connecting suites or rooms,” explains Kayal Moore, assistant director of rooms at the Bel-Air. Addressing the enhanced service that complements the environment, he says, “We truly offer a unique and tailored stay for each guest.”

 

Everything on the Las Vegas Strip, where there is a different standard for conspicuous consumption, is over-the-top, so it should come as no surprise that the premier accommodations at the city’s iconic hotels are truly spectacular. Many decadent suites are set aside for high rollers at Caesar’s Palace (none officially titled “Presidential Suite”), some whose pink onyx bathtubs with 24-karat gold fixtures are better suited for pleasure than official business.

Photos courtesy of Caesar’s Palace

When President Obama and family stayed at Caesar’s, they occupied the Cleopatra Villa and the adjoining Mark Antony Villa, totaling 20,000 square feet of lavish, marble-clad space with a glass-covered atrium, six bedrooms and an oversized outdoor spa. “Now that I’m president, they upgraded me,” Obama reportedly joked during his 2009 stay, acknowledging the over-the-top accommodations. The two combined suites, priced from $33,000 per night and favored by platinum record pop stars, royal families and tech tycoons — are accessed by secure private elevator and served by a dedicated butler 24 hours a day.

 

The Venetian, Las Vegas’ luxury Italianate hotel, offers not one but four Presidential Suites that combine understated elegance with a little glitz, consistent with a property that values artistic expression. Each suite’s 5,200 square feet of living space includes grand marble foyers, lavish dining rooms and a pair of bedrooms with elegant amenities. Naturally, the occupants have access to any of the hotel’s acclaimed chefs and can relax over a game of billiards in a stately game room. Hotel representatives report the Chairman Suites at The Venetian’s adjoining sister property, The Palazzo, are larger, flashier and even more befitting the highest of rollers.

 

Clearly, Washington, D.C. knows how to accommodate diplomats, prime ministers and sultans, with suites pre-approved by the Secret Service. The Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, which has nightly rates starting at $15,000, offers spectacular views of the nation’s capital and traditional yet exquisite décor. A hexagonal living room with vaulted ceiling and crystal chandelier adds to the ease of entertaining in this 3,500-square-foot suite, where stunning spa-like contemporary bathrooms — the master features a two-person glass shower — adjoin spacious sleeping quarters.

 

Hotel manager Marie-Elise Lallemand insists the Mandarin Oriental’s Presidential Suite is the only one in the District with genuinely monumental views, noting its 180-degree panorama encompasses many of the capital city’s most recognizable landmarks. In fact, a circular window in the 10-seat dining room perfectly frames a postcard-worthy vista of the Washington Monument. “With two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, dining room with chef’s prep area, living room, office, sitting room, and grand foyer, our Presidential Suite is truly unique,” says Lallemand, who maintains the level of service is commensurate with the presidential premises.

Sweet Suites

Hotel Bel-Air Los Angeles www.dorchestercollection.com

Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas www.caesars.com

Four Seasons New York www.fourseasons.com

The Greenbrier Sulphur Springs West Virginia www.greenbrier.com

Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C. www.mandarinoriental.com

The Palazzo Las Vegas www.palazzo.com

The Venetian Las Vegas www.venetian.com

By Roger Grody 

 

Los Angeles, for decades derided as a city without a viable downtown, has recently sprouted a vibrant city center, and no project better reflects the dynamic spirit of “DTLA” than Metropolis, a $1 billion mixed-use complex with hotel, shopping and residences developed by Greenland USA. Recently unveiled was The Penthouse Collection in the first of three planned residential towers, eight units capturing jetliner views through floor-to-ceiling windows.

 

“Greenland USA is delighted to unveil The Penthouse Collection, which offers residents the finest in luxury, high-rise living and access to top-tier services and amenities, says Chao Wu, Greenland’s General Manager, of the 39th floor residences. “Metropolis brings the excitement and vibrancy of Downtown Los Angeles right to our residents’ front doors, redefining the standard of luxury urban living,” he adds.

 

With floorplans ranging from 1,735 to 3,534 square feet, these residences are among the only two-story penthouses in downtown L.A. and enhanced amenities include a dedicated concierge and elaborately appointed clubhouse. The Collection is consistent with the Metropolis project’s chic, modern minimalism, and Penthouse 3906 (3,500-plus square feet, priced at $6.388 million) features the imprint of interior designer Michael Erno of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. He wrapped the rooms in rich textures and a palette of shimmering greys, silvers and earth tones, creating an elegant, clean-lined environment that complements, rather than distracts from, the breathtaking views.

 

The penthouses, priced from $2.194 million to $6.388 million, are listed by James Harris & David Parnes (familiar faces from Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles) and The Agency Development Group, a premier Beverly Hills-based real estate firm. “The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis presents a unique opportunity for those seeking the finest in luxury living high above all Downtown Los Angeles has to offer,” states Harris.

 

 

www.metropolislosangeles.com

 

Photo courtesy of Metropolis 

Walk-in closets, decked out with a chandelier, racks on racks of clothes, and luxury handbags in gold cases were always associated with the most elite celebrities, until this year. The “Insta-worthy” closet is emerging in many homes, with homeowners looking to spice up their closet space for the chicest of photos.

 

The closet is becoming one of the most important spaces in the house, and creator of LA Closet Design Lisa Adams is transforming closets every day. Luxury closet design company, LA Closet Design, launched in 2007 and intended to revamp the concept of closets. Since then, a lengthy list of celebrities, designers, architects and homeowners seek services to create customized, often high-tech and environmentally friendly, wardrobe spaces that add real value to the home. Adams decided it was time to reinvent the closet into a space that is functional, organized and stunningly chic.

 

Adams is now a celebrity go-to luxury closet designer, with clients like Khloe Kardashian, Fergie and Christina Aguilera. Recently, she created a carry-on luggage line called LAMove Mobile Closet — a closet on the go — and launched popular lifestyle blog CLOSETPHILE. Her clients reside across the U.S., Europe, Dubai and more. Here are some top closet trends, according to Adams.

Staging Areas

 

“These are a must in any dressing space today!” said Adams.“Whether it’s as simple as a wall-mounted rod or a freestanding display area, a staging area allows for easy styling and is the perfect spot to snap away and share on social media.”

Shoe Walls

 

Nothing says #closetgoals like a floor-to-ceiling display showcasing all your shoes. “Increasingly, clients are putting the pumps on display and keeping them styled to perfection,” said Adams. “You can organize by style, color or occasion, and the wall becomes the perfect backdrop for all those enviable Instagram moments!”

Lighting

 

Luxury closets are taking notes from luxury retail when it comes to lighting, with the addition of backlit shelves and illuminated displays to add a wow-factor to any space.

Multi-Functional Rooms

 

“As more millennials enter the housing market, spaces will become more flexible and multi-functional, challenging the conventional notion of the closet,” said Adams. “We will continue to see closets, along with every other space in the home, adapt to this more informal lifestyle. You no longer need a whole room dedicated to your desk, while your wardrobe suffers in a crowded walk-in; instead, these spaces become one.”

Photos courtesy of LA Closet Design 

Heart-throb actor of screen and television Rob Lowe and his wife Sheryl listed their estate in Montecito, California for $47 million in July, and are still awaiting a lucky buyer.

Located in a star-studded neighborhood, whoever buys this home will be living among some of the world’s biggest stars, including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Montecito is a much-favored retreat from the hectic world of TV and film, located 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Montecito boasts spectacular hillside views, nearby whale watching and beautiful weather.

 

Reminiscent of the country estates in Charlottesville, Virginia where he was born, Rob Lowe and his wife recreated a classic East Coast-style estate, a stand-out from the typical Mediterranean architecture of the area, on the market at $47 million. On a little over three acres, the main house of the estate was designed by architect Don Nulty, built in 2009, and is 10,000 square feet.

Included on the grounds are the two-bedroom guest house, one-bedroom pool house with staff quarters and outdoor kitchen, pool and spa, tennis court with observation areas and lushly landscaped lawns, large enough for team sports with mature trees and a vegetable garden. There are two outside fireplaces and terraces for relaxing or entertaining, a water serenade from fountains, and a koi pond. From most any location, one can enjoy sunsets over the Pacific.

Inside the main house are 20 rooms: a huge family kitchen, separate catering kitchen, eight bedrooms, eleven baths, office, library-music room with bar, family room, various conversation rooms and nooks, movie theater, a well-equipped gym and expansive wine cellar.

 

Now 54, Lowe had a busy career in both film and television, yet is still lighting up the screens. At age 19, he starred in the hit movie “The Outsiders. Binge-watch him today in “The West Wing” reruns.

Photos courtesy of TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

Offering a one-stop shop for high-end design — architecture, landscape architecture and interior design services under a single roof on Los Angeles’ famed Miracle Mile — is Studio William Hefner.

The office’s location on this stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, lined by Art Deco masterpieces and many of the city’s museums, is clearly inspirational for designers.

 

Originally from Northern California, Hefner arrived in Los Angeles to earn a graduate degree in architecture from UCLA and founded his current practice in 1989. He oversees a highly collaborative staff of about 35 in L.A. and maintains a smaller office in the idyllic coastal community of Montecito, outside of Santa Barbara.

 

Hefner, who studied art history in college and appreciates a diversity of design, draws inspiration from landmark residences scattered throughout Southern California. He is appreciative of traditionalists like Wallace Neff and Paul Williams — their Mediterranean estates have long been popular with Hollywood celebrities — as well as Mid-Century Modern masters Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra. As a result, Hefner’s practice encompasses a wide spectrum of architectural styles and his firm adapts to evolving preferences.

 

“In my practice, I try not to have a ‘signature’ style but strive toward quality design and execution in different genres, from very traditional to contemporary,” says Hefner, who reports about 60 percent of his current commissions are modern, a share that has doubled in the past decade. “Modern residential architecture has come in and out of style over the past 30 years but is finally becoming more of a lifestyle, not just a fashion or trend,” says Hefner, who adds, “I think it’s here to stay.” In Los Angeles — where so many high-end homes are in the hills or along the coast — modern design maximizes views and suits the region’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle. 

Commissioned to design a massive residence on 10 precious acres in L.A.’s opulent Bel-Air neighborhood, Hefner created a formidable French-style estate known as Château des Fleurs. The client’s original inspiration was the majestic Hôtel du Cap on France’s Côte d’Azur, and Hefner conducted extensive research in Paris, Versailles and the Loire Valley to ensure that every detail was authentic. “We wanted to make sure each room was special and unique,” explains Hefner of the house, which has 31 bathrooms. Despite the scale of the project, the architect took care to create intimate, family-friendly spaces throughout the home in addition to grand rooms for entertainment.

 

When the 60,000-square-foot residence was completed in 2013 after five years of construction, it was the largest home in a city famous for conspicuous consumption. In his lavishly illustrated book Château des Fleurs (Pointed Leaf Press, 2016), Hefner explains a progressive approach to classic French design. “The balance of this house was to create a powerfully simple structure that would feel timeless and not imitative, while inviting an Old World opulence to the fit and finish of the architecture in a way that would be both decorative and something more: modern,” he writes.

Another more classically inspired design from Hefner is an oceanfront home in L.A.’s Pacific Palisades, a celebrity-favored enclave with a rich architectural history. This home features an Italianate design, dazzling spiral staircase and lush landscaping. In the very same community, in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, Hefner authored a sprawling modern residence in which the floorplan was meticulously oriented to ensure optimal views from every room.

An approximately 7,000-square-foot home in Beverly Hills’ coveted Trousdale Estates is one of Studio William Hefner’s most notable expressions of modernism. Reminiscent of L.A.’s influential Case Study Houses from prominent Mid-Century Modern architects, it was commissioned for a client with an extraordinary modern art collection. “Accommodating art is always a challenge in a view house,” says Hefner, who notes the requisite expanses of glass tend to limit available wall space.

In suburban Sierra Madre, a considerably more rustic community than Beverly Hills, Hefner created a thoroughly contemporary residence in an environment where Craftsman bungalows and Spanish Revival homes are the prevailing architecture. But through a generous use of stone and wood, he was able to infuse the property with considerable warmth, softening the impact of its modernist theme. 

“My philosophy, in both traditional and modern homes, is to introduce spaces for indoor-outdoor living, which is a reason we offer landscape architecture among our services,” says Hefner. “In Southern California, the entire site becomes a living space, with large patios, covered outdoor living areas and landscaped courtyards that people can use throughout the year,” he explains. In Hefner-designed landscape design  projects, swimming pools often double as reflecting pools, fountain-laden patios  assume the serenity of Zen gardens and cacti provide a compelling complement to austere clean-lined structures.

Like New York’s idiosyncratic Peter Marino, a talent he admires, Hefner is an architect who has expanded his practice to incorporate interior design. “I always had a strong interest in interiors and was disappointed when some of my early projects were not finished the way I had envisioned them, so I began designing interiors myself,” recounts Hefner. Now heading up the interior specialty at the firm is his wife, accomplished designer Kazuko Hoshino, and the firm produces custom-made furniture and accessories that enhance the interiors she creates.

Among Studio William Hefner’s custom-made products are the Infinity console, a plane of wood supported by two circular bands of steel, and the strikingly contemporary Halo mirror with its echoes of Mid-Century Modernism. Featuring a modern simplicity are the Capri lounge chair and distinctive Willow nightstand. Even the most contemporary of these pieces can complement vintage architectural settings, as Hefner and Hoshino have demonstrated in their own 1920s residence in L.A.’s fashionable Hancock Park neighborhood.

Before Hefner founded his own company, he worked for Skidmore Owings & Merrill, one of the world’s largest and most influential architecture firms, designing high-rise commercial buildings. “It was difficult to establish a personal connection with the ultimate users of the spaces,” laments Hefner, who appreciates residential design because of the more intimate relationship it forges between architect and client. Hefner encourages clients to fully participate in the design process, stating, “I think we do a better job when they’re more involved.”

The firm’s projects continue to be concentrated in Southern California, where Hefner believes the Mediterranean climate and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle it encourages affords him a genuine freedom of creativity. However, Studio William Hefner has designed residences in countries as disparate as South Korea, Turkey and Israel, and is currently undertaking projects in Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Photos courtesy of Laura Hull, James Ray Spahn, and Tyler William Parker

Capturing the charm of Silver Lake, Vica is a unique mixed-use real estate offering that will be the first new condominium development in the Los Angeles neighborhood in 10 years.

 

Vica, meaning “the life,” was developed to complement the eclectic vibe of the neighborhood and the community, according to Justin Barth, principal of Los-Angeles based developer Barth Partners. Barth, alongside Ireland’s Barry Leddy Developments, aims to fulfill the housing demands of the community and to create a living experience that articulates the style and personality of Silver Lake.

 

Vica is prominently located close to Hollywood and Downtown, amidst some of the most spirited coffee shops and contemporary eateries in the area. Designed by Killefer Flammang Architects, the development will boast 31 exquisite residences, as well as five penthouses, which will each feature an interior staircase that leads up to a private rooftop terrace.

 

Designer Laura Derland and the Loraline Design team have also created interiors that strike the perfect balance between masculine and feminine and dark and light within the communal spaces and residences.

 

The development’s amenities include a meditation garden, state-of-the-art fitness studio, The Lounge at Vica, a pool and spa observation deck, and a 3,000-square-foot, ground-floor retail space with unmatched outdoor dining experiences near Sunset Boulevard. Vica’s versatility makes it a standout development for an assortment of buyers, from entrepreneurs and professionals to young singles or couples.

 

“People longing for more connectivity with one another and the world around them will find Vica unlike any other available new living opportunity within Los Angeles,” Barth affirms. — Kristen Ordonez

 

Photo courtesy of Vica

Celebrity brokers co-list eight Los Angeles penthouses with The Agency Development Group.

The collection is comprised of four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom residences that range in size from 1,735 square feet to 3,534 square feet with pricing starting at $2.194 million and ranging up to $6.388 million. The residences are well-appointed with expansive floor plans that capture fine sky-high views of LA through floor-to-ceiling windows.
“Greenland USA is delighted to unveil The Penthouse Collection, which will offer residents the finest in luxury, high-rise living and access to top-tier services and amenities,” said Chao Wu, general manager of Greenland USA, Los Angeles. “Located conveniently between Los Angeles’ financial district to the north and the entertainment district to the south, Metropolis brings the excitement and vibrancy of Downtown Los Angeles right to our residents’ front doors, redefining the standard of luxury, urban living.”
Penthouse 3906 was exquisitely envisioned by Michael Erno of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Erno chose pieces that create an elevated sense of calm as one enters the first-floor living area and transitions upstairs to the bedrooms. He used a glamorous palette of shimmery greys, silvers, neutral tones and a myriad of textures to complement the opulent nature of Metropolis while not detracting from the remarkable jetliner views.

Residents will have access to a 24/7 Lobby Attendant and Dedicated Concierge, Met Six Residence Clubhouse with indoor lounge and chef’s kitchen, resort pool with a Jacuzzi, cabanas and lounge, billiard and game rooms, screening room, meditation garden and a dog park with a bathing station.
“It is exciting to see how the Downtown Los Angeles market has grown over the years and how the demand for high-end product is at an all-time high,” adds Parnes. “With unparalleled amenities and services, Metropolis is among the most sought-after properties in Los Angeles, and we are excited to be a part of this new chapter of the Downtown real estate market.”

Metropolis Los Angeles, developed by Greenland USA, has unveiled The Penthouse Collection, listed by Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles’ James Harris and David Parnes and The Agency Development Group. The unveiling of The Penthouse Collection comes on the heels of the sales success at Tower 1 and the launch of sales for Tower 2.
Among the only two-story penthouses in Downtown Los Angeles, The Penthouse Collection is located atop Tower 1 and features eight residences, with one residence envisioned by the award-winning Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams interior design firm.

“The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis presents a unique opportunity for those seeking the finest in luxury living high above all Downtown Los Angeles has to offer,” said Harris. “These penthouses will raise the bar of luxury living in Downtown Los Angeles, and we are honored to be bringing them to market along with The Agency Development Group.”

Tower 2, which will feature an incredible 3.5-acre amenity deck, will soon launch as well. 

Photos courtesy of Metropolis

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